Gone are the days when leaders, with their plans, could stand at the helm and delegate duties without much accountability. Today’s leaders not only need to inspire action, they need to do it with passion and compassion. They need to ‘appeal to the nobler motives’, just as Dale Carnegie’s Principle #19 states.
This means that there is an acute need for leaders today to be aware of who they are and what they stand for. It is this shift in mindset that gave rise to a concept integral to the realm of leadership and management – ‘Self Awareness’.
To be self-aware is to be conscious of the various aspects of yourself – from emotions and behaviours to traits, biases, and aspirations. Put simply, it is about paying attention to yourself, noticing the little details, and being honest about it.
By this definition, self-awareness sounds like something everyone should practice. And it is! However, different disciplines demand different levels and types of self-awareness. The Dale Carnegie Course® is geared towards leaders and answers the ‘Hows’ and ‘Whys’ of it.
That being said, learning about self awareness isn’t enough. Self awareness needs to be practiced in order to hone the 5 drivers of leadership success. Here’s how it helps:
- Self awareness builds self confidence.
Self-awareness brings forth new insights that help identify, strategise around, and/or confront strengths, weaknesses, and fears. With this information, depending on where they are in their career, leaders can start building their leadership skills or focus on finessing specific areas of it. Understanding one’s limitations also allows leaders to foresee and plan to combat roadblocks that may arise. This helps reduce stress and boosts the leader’s ability to perform at their optimum best.
- Self awareness improves communication and interpersonal skills.
Once you start noticing them, patterns in human behaviour seem to arise everywhere. By working towards self-awareness, leaders automatically nurture empathy, confidence, and a genuine desire to create an environment conducive to other people’s growth and development. They also begin to inculcate important Dale Carnegie principles like #17 ‘Try honestly to see things from the other person’s point of view’ and #12 ‘If you are wrong, admit it quickly and emphatically’; all of which empower leaders to communicate better, and build honest connections.
- Self awareness empowers leaders to manage attitudes and stress – both theirs and others’.
Leaders that are constantly working towards self-awareness have a better handle on their capabilities, work ethics, skills and shortcomings. Self-awareness, therefore, allows them to look at themselves and the situation from an objective viewpoint. Taking this step back not only opens doors for leaders to work towards fulfilling the various roles they may be required to play – from mentor to team member – but also empowers them to recognize factors of stress and deal with them with careful consideration and ease, outside the realm of emotions. It also helps leaders identify and concentrate on others’ strengths and set them on the path that best suits the organisation while also helping them achieve their individual goals in a seamless and stress-free manner.
- Self awareness elevates leadership competence.
By making sounder decisions, building confidence in the self, and modelling desirable behaviours through self-awareness, leaders can positively influence the attitudes of those around them. They can inspire people to act and think differently, and maybe even start them on their journey to self-awareness! After all, a leader is and will always be someone who can create opportunities for growth and change by inspiring others, taking initiative and building the foundation for everyone’s success.
So go on! Take this knowledge and work towards equipping yourself with the self-awareness required to expand your ingenuity, build team harmony and inclusivity, and drive performance. And always remember these pearls of truth:
‘We all have possibilities we don’t know about. We can do things we don’t even dream we can do.’ – Dale Carnegie